Clarke chasing England and a rise up Test rankings

Australian captain Michael Clarke’s rise to the Test cricket No.1 world ranking.

England took over the mantle as the world’s best Test team with their emphatic innings victory over India at Edgbaston over the weekend.

But while only too happy to give credit to counterpart Andrew Strauss’ team for their efforts over the past two years, Clarke says his own team’s challenges are of far greater importance to him.

After sealing an emphatic eight-wicket win in the second of five one-day matches against Sri Lanka in Hambantota on Sunday, Clarke just wanted to wrap up the series and then focus on the upcoming three Test campaign, where Australia look to start their climb from the world No.5 ranking.

“England’s played some really good cricket over a long period of time and they deserve to be there,” Clarke told reporters.

“Full credit to them but we’ve got a lot more important things to worry about from our side.

“We’re working hard to stay No.1 in one-day cricket and to get back up that table in Test cricket.

“I think we’ll stay focused on the job at hand but good luck to England, that’s great for them.”

One man who suffered most at the hands of England’s rise was former captain Ricky Ponting, who lost the last two Ashes series to Strauss and his men.

But the 36-year-old said England were worthy of their new crown.

“England’s bowling attack is the best in the world and they deserve to be ranked the best side in the world,” England’s Daily Mirror newspaper quoted Ponting as saying.

“I’ve been watching some of the England versus India Test series on TV and there’s no doubt their bowling group is very, very good.”

Not so long ago Clarke was part of the world’s best Test side and he’s had to endure the team’s at-times humiliating slide down the rankings.

But now that he’s the leader of the side, it’s Clarke’s main challenge to reverse the slump and get Australia back towards the top of the tree.

And he knows what’ll take to get there.

“A lot of hard work and probably a fair bit of time,” he said.

“We need to concentrate on what’s in front of us now, playing Sri Lanka in these conditions, in any form, is quite difficult.

“We’re off to a good start in this series but we know there’s a long way to go. Our focus is here, to perform well on this tour and then we’ll take the next tour as we go.”